In honor of the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the Government, today at its weekly meeting, decided that beginning in 2008, the State of Israel will award an official citation (not a cash prize) to government, non-government and public bodies, and to private individuals, for their contributions to the struggle against trafficking in human beings, including for prostitution, slavery, forced labor and/or organ donations.  The citations will be awarded at an official ceremony that will take place on December 2 annually.  Prime Minister’s Office Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women Director Marit Danon commended the decision.

The Government also decided to implement national plans to combat trafficking in human beings (including temporary housing solutions, rehabilitative shelters and medical services) and allocated NIS 4.2 million to this end.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that several years, Israel had been included on a list of countries in which trafficking in human beings, especially women, was possible.  He noted that the Government has taken aggressive steps that have resulted in Israel’s removal from this list and called for continued action to completely eliminate trafficking in human beings, especially women.